My heart’s meditation brings understanding –Psalm 49:3
Where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also –Jesus, Sermon on the Mount
Trusting in God. Union with God. To pray without ceasing. How can this be accomplished in the Christian tradition?
To pray unceasingly on must put their prayers on the heart.
Heart-based Meditation is a perfect practice for doing that.
In Heart Meditation you focus on your heart. We do this by feeling our heartbeat. This simple practice helps us stay in our body, focused on our heart.
The first sound a newborn child makes is the beat of the heart. The first sound a child hears is the beat of the mother’s heart. These sounds are imprinted upon us and we have a longing to hear them, and heal through them and work with them. In Heart Meditation we speak of the heart as an old friend who’s been with us all our life.
Our first breath is experienced as we exit the mother’s womb, and our last breath defines the end of our life. Heart Meditation practices focus on the breath and heartbeat. This is compatible with Christian Meditation practice.
You can simply put your hand upon your heart now and ask: what does my heart want? This can be the beginning of your meditation Christian practice.
In every heart there is God’s kingdom, a holy place to pray.
Centering Prayer is a type of silent prayer which readies us to obtain the gift of contemplative prayer, where one can experience the presence of God within.
Centering prayer isn’t meant to replace other types of prayer, but can add depth and meaning to all prayer.
This is a receptive type of prayer where one rests in God. Practicing Heart-Focused meditation is compatible with centering prayer practices.
In the Christian meditation tradition, one can choose a sacred word to connect with the center of the heart. Choose your own word (Creator, Father, Savior, Heaven, God, etc). As you begin your meditation practice you can silently say your sacred word in your heart. Then simply sit, wait, and contemplate. God is there inside you, in the quiet. Rest within.
You can repeat your word again silently and slowly in your heart. If you have other thoughts, just let them float out of your head.
When you are finished (try at least 6 minutes) slowly open your eyes and, if you like, say a prayer like the Our Father prayer.
We are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey. — Teihard de Chardin
In the time of the Apostles of Christ, there was a Meditation Christian Practice called the prayer of the heart. Later, this became known as the Jesus Prayer and some form of this practice has been used in monasteries ever since.
In the Jesus Prayer, the words Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, (Lord have mercy on me, Christ have mercy on me) are said with an awareness of the heart, while breathing consciously. This practice is the topic of the book, The Way of a Pilgrim, written by an anonymous Russian mystic.
The Meditation Christian practice developed over the centuries as the saints stressed four fundamentals of how to practice the Jesus Prayer:
- Concentration on the heart.
- Concentration on the breath.
- Sincere, devotional, emotion
- Invocation of Jesus Christ
The 19th century Saint John of Kronstadt lays great emphasis on the emotion: When you pray, keep to the rule that it is better to say five words from the depth of your heart than ten thousand words with your tongue only. –Kaldoubovsky (1992, 193)
The prayer of the heart that all the saints describe is designed to create the perfection of love in your heart, as described in Corinthians 1:13.
For more details on the origins of Meditation Christian practices see the book Living from the Heart, by Puran and Susanna Bair, Appendix 1: The Source of Heart Rhythm Meditation.
Click here to see more book information on Amazon.com.
Puran and Susanna Bair talk about Listening to Your Heart and the Christian origins of Heart Rhythm Meditation.
See also this wonderful meditation Christian video called The Spirituality of Early Christianity, a talk by Father Steven and Ted Nottingham.